Human rights NGO, Black Sash, says if the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) does not move quickly to iron out issues with the distribution of the R350 special COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant, it risks causing a humanitarian crisis.

SASSA has sought to explain the only ten payments made after millions of people applied for the grant, saying it was a test run.

People who do not have bank accounts will still be able to get their grant via their cellphone number, provided it is RICA’d in their name.

More than 3.5 million people have applied for the grant. There are concerns of widespread fraud if proper checks are not conducted.

In this video, the process of the social relief grant is discussed

Black Sash National Director, Lynert Maart, says the number of people that could benefit from the grant is around 8 million people.

She adds that of the 3.5 million applications received, most were duplicates.

“I think that there were unrealistic targets and deadlines that were set, SASSA itself at the moment is operating at a third of its capacity. What’s encouraging from what the CEO has said is that there will be back pay because there are many people that are standing in the queue still to be registered. But we might sit with a humanitarian crisis in that people who have not been registered or are waiting to be registered will have issues with food or just basic humanitarian issues and there doesn’t seem to be a clear strategy,” says Maart.

The Department of Social Development explains the social relief grant process